Chinese city of Wenzhou sells 1400 cars to reduce costs


Bloomberg News (Beijing) - A Chinese city that is bearing the brunt of the country's economic slowdown plans to sell about 1,400 government cars to cut costs and increase transparency.

The Wenzhou city government sold 215 cars by auction on June 24, state-owned China National Radio reported, citing information from the local government. Officials who no longer have a car will be given transportation subsidies ranging from 300 yuan ($47) to 3,100 yuan a month based on rank, the government said on its website.

Chinese leaders have asked government agencies to disclose vehicle purchases and ownership as part of efforts to make expenditures more transparent. China's growth has slowed for five quarters, and Wenzhou, stung by government plans to rein in a property bubble, has seen growth moderate to a 5 percent pace last quarter, the weakest in at least four years.

Wenzhou spends 144 million yuan a year to operate and maintain its vehicle fleet, China National Radio said. Ipsos, an auto research body, estimates that the national government spends about $16 billion a year as China's biggest buyer of cars.

Vehicles produced by Audi AG (NSU) make up about a third of government and state-linked enterprise fleet, according to Zhang Xin, an analyst at Guotai Junan Securities Co.

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